How To Sell: The 4 Foundational Sales Questions (Pt. 4)

4 foundational sales questions part 4 supportedly blog

Hey there, Entrepreneur! In Part 3 of our multi-week series, How To Sell: The 4 Foundational Sales Questions, we got down and dirty with the second of those four aforementioned questions: What Are Your Ideal Customers’ Big Problems? (If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can access them via the links below. We highly recommend at least reviewing Part 3 before moving forward.)

At this point, you should have a much better understanding of who your ideal customers are, what their biggest problems are, and why you’re best suited to solve them. Now, we’re going to shift the focus a bit to explore the third of the 4 Foundational Sales Questions: How Will You Reach Your Ideal Customers? Or, how you’ll go about finding your ideal customers and convincing them to partner with you. Spoiler alert: Friends and family don’t count.

So, what do we mean by “finding” our ideal customers, exactly? At the highest level, it means completing the actions required to make the right folks aware of your solution and then providing them with the opportunity to buy.

There are two big parts here that we need to zero in on: The first is the action and the second is the opportunity. Think of actions as the activities you’ll employ to reach your prospective customers. Opportunities are where the activities will take place, or the “channels,” for short.

Consider, for example, your local grocery store. The opportunity to make a sale requires the store itself, right? The physical building where products are available to buy. This is commonly referred to as the “retail” or “bricks and mortar” channel. But, just because products are in the channel — and, in this case, literally on the shelves — there’s no guarantee that customers will buy them.

That’s where the actions come in. These include things like getting your product placed in the store, being seen as many people as possible, and ultimately making the products attractive enough to be purchased.

Let’s simplify this a bit by addressing a few more questions:

1. Where do my ideal customers buy offerings like mine?

Remember in How To Sell: The 4 Foundational Sales Questions (Part 2) when we learned that a big part of knowing our ideal customers is understanding where and how they buy? (See how this information comes in handy as we’re considering how to reach them?) The easiest way to answer this question is to just straight-up ask your potential ideal customers. Maybe they prefer to buy online instead of in an actual store. You won’t know until you ask, though, so don’t make the rookie mistake of assuming you know the answer.

2. What do I need to do to get my offerings in these channels?

Answering this question requires a deeper dive than we’ll get into right now, but it’s essential that you at least start to identify the requirements of each channel as early as possible. Why? So you can determine which channels are most realistic for you to pursue.

For example: Say you learn from your customers that they buy products like yours from eCommerce sites like Amazon, as well as retail stores like Walmart. Getting your products offered by Walmart is a much larger undertaking than selling on Amazon, so eCommerce may be the way to go — at least for now.

Here’s a shortcut to help you get started: Learn from an entrepreneur who is successfully selling products through the channels you’re considering and is operating at a level that you hope to be in the next 1-2 years. Most entrepreneurs are happy to help folks who are just getting started because they remember how hard those times were. Just be sure to pick non-competitive businesses and be respectful of their time. LinkedIn is a great way to reach out (and it doesn’t hurt to purchase their product first if you can swing it).

3. How many people need to consider my offerings to make a sale?

If you’re just starting out, this question may be a bit of a stretch. But it’s never too early to start forecasting and determining how many prospects you need to reach to generate a customer. This is an essential skill that anyone selling anything must master.

Why? Because you’ll know exactly how many prospects you need to convert a customer, which will enable you to systematically grow your business instead of using guesswork. One way to do this is by using the ACC process. (ACC stands for Attempts, Connects, and Conversions, by the way.)

Ready to take action? Here’s a little homework for you:

  1. Ask at least 10 ideal customers where they buy offerings like yours.
  2. Learn what you need to do to get your offerings in the best-fit channels by asking at least 2 experienced entrepreneurs.
  3. Begin tracking how many people need to consider your offerings to make a sale using the ACC method (or something similar).

To get the most out of next week’s installment, you should try to complete each of the prompts above as best you can. You got this!

‘Til next time!

P.S.: If you’re eager to get this party started and don’t want to wait for the next installment — or, if you’d like a bit more clarity on this lesson, along with a real-world guide to answering those questions — you can jump on into our full online sales training course, Sales 101: Sales Training For Beginners, right now. You’ll get expert guidance from Supportedly’s Founder & CEO, Tom Ryan, and we’ll supply you with a ton of actionable content to apply what you learn as well.

Have other questions in the meantime?